The important changes introduced by the 44th Amendment Act are:
o Any changes in the basic structure of the constitution can be made only if they are approved by the people of India by a majority of votes at a referendum in which at least fifty-one per cent of the electorate participated. Article 368 is being amended to ensure this.
o The 44th Amendment Act 1978 reversed the provision made by 42nd amendment act that allowed the government to amend the constitution on its wish by Article 368. 44th Amendment Act nullified this unjustified power to the government.
o Right to Property was removed from the list of fundamental rights (Article 31) and was made a legal right under Article 300A.
o Proclamation of Emergency can be issued only when the security of India or any part of its territory is threatened by war or external aggression or by armed rebellion. Internal disturbance not amounting to armed rebellion would not be a ground for the issue of a Proclamation.
o An emergency can be proclaimed only on the basis of written advice tendered to the President by the Cabinet.
o The right to liberty is further strengthened by the provision that law for preventive detention cannot authorise, in any case, detention for a longer period than two months, unless an Advisory Board has reported that there is sufficient cause for such detention.
o Right of the media to report freely and without censorship the proceedings in Parliament and the State Legislatures.
o The 44th Amendment Act restricted the scope of Article 358 (provides for the effect of the National Emergency on the Fundamental Rights) by stating that the six fundamental rights under Article 19 cannot be suspended if the National Emergency has been proclaimed on the ground of armed rebellion.
- It was the 42nd Amendment Act which made the advice of the central council of ministers binding on the President. The 44th Amendment only empowered the President to send back any such advice once.